West Texas Kids Collect Jeans for the Needy

West Texas School Kids Give Jeans to the Needy
(from center, clockwise) David Sanchez, Isabella Fraire, Julian Fraire, Aylin Quintana, Leila DiPasquale and Alia DiPasquale
Matthew Mahon

08/29/2013 AT 02:30 PM EDT

They say it takes a village – or at least a small charter school in El Paso, Texas – to collect an enormous amount of jeans to help the needy.

“There were times when my office was invaded by jeans," says Vice Principal Adriana Solis. "For a while, our offices, some of the classrooms, and even the parents' center, were full of jeans!"

Less than 300 students attend La Fe Preparatory School, a West Texas school nestled against the Mexico border, which serves grades K-7 – yet they were determined to collect the most jeans as part of a nationwide campaign sponsored by the nonprofit group DoSomething.org and retail store Aéropostale. They beat 9,000 schools and collected 42,384 pairs doing whatever it took.

"All of us asked our friends and family who asked their friends and family for jeans," says Leila DiPasquale, now a fifth-grade student.

She and her classmates sent text messages, posted fliers and visited church groups for jeans.

Aylin Quintana, now in seventh grade, says every jean counted: "The people who donated one pair of jeans are as important as the one who collected a thousand," she says.

Vice Principal Solis says they encourage the students to give back to their community.

"They understand that they're giving something to someone who doesn’t have what they have," she says.

Residents at Reynolds Home, a shelter for homeless women and children in El Paso, received eight boxes of jeans. Director Dorothy Truax says kids want to look like other kids – no matter the circumstance.

"To have nice jeans and to look like your classmates – it's important for them," says Truax. "And kids love jeans. They don’t wear anything else!"

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